Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Siemens and Sintavia Partner for Industrial 3D Printing Software Solutions

ST Medical Devices

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Siemens and Sintavia are reimagining end-to-end additive manufacturing (AM) to deliver a more viable solution to the additive process. In order to accelerate digital automation for industrial AM, the multinational engineering and electronics giant Siemens, partnered with Sintavia, a leading Tier One metal additive manufacturer for critical industries.  Both companies will work on the development of an end-to-end AM software solution as part of Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio, which was originally designed to help companies of all sizes become digital enterprises with personalized solutions to fit customer and industry needs.

Sintavia will provide testing and technical feedback on pre-released software that will be part of future AM solutions. In exchange, Sintavia is slated to become a preferred AM partner of Siemens and will gain access to the AM software in advance of the market, along with technical support for its implementation.

Simulation of an aerospace nozzle guide vane ring, both with and without supports, designed by Sintavia and using Siemens Xcelerator simulation software. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

Described by Sintavia’s CEO, Brain Neff as absolutely essential to making additive a viable manufacturing process, the end-to-end solution that Siemens has been developing goes beyond digitally connecting the various phases of the AM process.

“We’ve developed a lot of tribal knowledge on how to deliver quality 3D printed metal parts,” explained Neff. “But we recognize that we can’t just rely on individual expertise to meet the accelerating demand in aerospace for additive manufacturing. We need software to codify the processes we undertake, and not just connect them in a digital thread, but automate them, take our know-how and have it drive activities in the background, so we can achieve optimal efficiency.”

This new collaboration is vital to Siemens’ efforts to develop an automated end-to-end solution that spans the entire AM lifecycle—from designing an optimized part, preparing it for 3D printing and simulating its build, to planning serial production, executing on the shop floor, and delivering a qualified part, said Aaron Frankel, Vice President of the AM Program for Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Frankel also highlighted that Sintavia can provide the technical feedback needed to build AM know-how into Siemens’ predictive engineering software, also known as “digital twin” technology, a virtual double of a product, machine, process, or production facility designed to improve economy, performance, robustness, or environmental compatibility, turning the system into an expert as opposed to the user. This is a critical step to making additive more widely embraced for volume production, described Frankel, as well as necessary for an industry that lacks decades of established knowledge readily communicated. In fact, he believes that companies currently can’t afford to make everyone in the AM process an expert, and need software to automate tasks, work in the background, and make additive more of a “push-button process.”

As part of the three-year agreement, the two companies indicated that they will collaborate on joint sales and marketing activities and plan to organize events at Sintavia’s facility in Hollywood, Florida, that will showcase Siemens’ AM solution in an industrialized additive production environment. Additionally, they agreed to focus on sustainability as part of their marketing collaboration.

Sintavia is the only company in the world with Nadcap approvals for laser additive manufacturing, electron beam additive manufacturing, and in-house heat treatment. (Image courtesy of Business Wire)

For several years, Sintavia has been working towards sustainability goals. In 2019 Neff suggested that the AM industry has a unique opportunity and advantage for more sustainable production technology than traditional subtractive manufacturing. Also, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to align their goals towards sustainable AM production, Sintavia co-founded the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA), a global, non-commercial, unaffiliated nonprofit organization open to any additive manufacturer or industry stakeholder that meets certain criteria relating to the sustainability of production, and which Siemens joined in 2020.

“Siemens has a strong commitment to sustainability – it is a key part of the Siemens 2020+ vision,” suggested Frankel. “Siemens’ additive manufacturing software contributes to greener additive manufacturing production not just by streamlining designs and reducing material usage, but also by leveraging simulation to help enable first-time-right 3D printing and optimize AM factory efficiency to eliminate waste. We’re excited to join the AMGTA and work closely with Sintavia to help promote the green benefits of additive manufacturing.”

Businesses throughout a wide range of industries have absorbed the idea of optimizing value chains through AM. Major industry players have taken advantage of AM-produced applications, particularly when compared to traditional manufacturing. Reducing costs and time to market, with faster design processes and the possibility to create complex parts, makes the technology extremely appealing to critical industries, like aerospace, defense, and space. Moreover, offering end-to-end software solutions that can accelerate a company’s entire needs, guiding production streams, whether it is needed for prototyping, tooling, or end parts, could maximize demand for AM.  Siemens has made a strong commitment to AM and currently delivers cutting-edge automation technology for additive supported by end-to-end software. As key partnerships continue to help the industry succeed, Sintavia’s novel collaboration with Siemens could lead to innovative automation technology supported by end-to-end software and a more complete portfolio for a company that is looking to become a critical player in the AM market.

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